October 2012 Newsletter

Using Pump­kins as Vases or Flo­ral Containers

by Kit Wertz

Pumpkin Vase
Pic­tured above is a design I did using orange Marigolds, dark red Mini Ger­bera Daisies, Cot­i­nus ‘Smoke Bush’ and Broom­corn. With the excep­tion of the Ger­bers, these flow­ers are pri­mar­ily avail­able only in the fall. If you want to learn more about fall flow­ers, come to our fall flo­ral design class this month at our Flo­ral Design Stu­dio in Tor­rance. You’ll learn all about flow­ers which you can only get in the fall.

How to Use a Pump­kin as a Vase

Carved Pumpkin Vase
This is the time of year when it’s fun to cre­ate vases out of real pump­kins for our table dec­o­ra­tions. While it’s tempt­ing to carve the pump­kin early for your flo­ral design, we rec­om­mend wait­ing until the day before your event to do this.

  • Cut an open­ing in the top that is large enough for the design you want to cre­ate. You may want to cut a cir­cle and fit in a small glass con­tainer to hold the stems of the design.
  • Or, instead of a cir­cle, you may want to cut a square, line the inte­rior with plas­tic and then slip some soaked flo­ral foam inside to help hold the stems. Be sure to trim the plas­tic so you don’t see it com­ing out of the pumpkin.
  • Scoop out all the seeds and other goopy stuff inside the pump­kin (Save the seeds to toast them in the oven. Just wash them, toss a lit­tle salt on them and throw them on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven at 325 degrees until they start to brown a bit.)
  • You many want to keep the top of the pump­kin with the stem attached as an accent to your design, too.

How to Pre­serve Carved Pump­kins:
Fruit Fresh
When I was research­ing for this arti­cle, I came across an inter­est­ing web­site called myscienceproject.org. The author did a great exper­i­ment with all types of rec­om­mended ways to keep a carved pump­kin fresh. The final con­clu­sion was to just carve the pump­kin and leave it. All the rec­om­men­da­tions: soak­ing in a bleach solu­tion, coat­ing it with white glue or Vase­line or an expen­sive prod­uct called Pump­kin Fresh, all resulted in prob­lems. The plain old pump­kin with no treat­ment lasted the longest and looked the best in the end.

One method they did not try was using Ball® Fruit-Fresh® Pro­duce Pro­tec­tor. This is used in food prepa­ra­tion to help keep cut fruit like apples from turn­ing brown in a pre­pared fruit salad. Even though it says it only works up to 8 hours, I thought I would give it a try on my pump­kin. So I did a con­trol exper­i­ment. After one day, the Fruit-Fresh® treated pump­kin looked and smelled just like it did after I carved it. I am still work­ing on this exper­i­ment so check in with us on our Flower Duet Face­book page to see how the pump­kin fares each day and get the final verdict.

Use Funk­ins or Fake Pumpkins

One advan­tage of using real pump­kins is you can com­post them along with the flow­ers when the arrange­ment has faded. (Keep flo­ral foam out of the com­post heap. Flo­ral foam needs to be tossed into the garbage after using it for flo­ral design. See all our guide­lines on How to Safely use Flo­ral Foam.)

Using fake pump­kins or “Funk­ins” (pic­tured at left) for your Hal­loween and Thanks­giv­ing dec­o­ra­tion allows you to reuse them year after year! Plus, it’s easy to carve them, paint them or embell­ish them. You can even gild them to cre­ate a classy look!

NOTE: Fake pump­kins are flam­ma­ble. Use only bat­tery oper­ated lights inside them if you are using the fake pump­kin as a votive holder or jack-o-lantern.

Cre­ate a Classy Hal­loween in Black and White

by Kit Wertz

Black and White Halloween Pumpkin
Fall is upon us and instead of the usual orange and black dec­o­ra­tions, I am lean­ing toward a more ele­gant Hal­loween look. I am really drawn to the sim­ple ele­gance of ghosts, owls, bats, spi­ders, witches hats and ghost pump­kins which are white instead of orange.

It seems that I am not the only one who feels this way about this hol­i­day. I found a lot of inspi­ra­tion online and have cre­ated a new Pin­ter­est board called Classy Hal­loween. There are not many flo­ral designs on this board, but you could really just cre­ate any type of white flo­ral design and then add a few spooky accents like cob­webs, spi­ders, mini bats or fun say­ings like, “Eek!” or “Boo!”

At left, I added
sticker rhine­stones
to a fake white pump­kin. It was easy to free hand this design using tweez­ers to remove the rhine­stones from the plas­tic back­ing and place them on the pump­kin. You could accent this with a fake lit­tle spi­der, too!

Below is a snap­shot of my Pin­ter­est board on Black and White Hal­loween dec­o­ra­tions. I hope it inspires you.


Flower Duet’s Black and White Hal­loween Designs

I shopped at my local craft, gro­cery and fur­ni­ture stores for all the items I needed to cre­ate these black and white Hal­loween dec­o­ra­tion ideas. I went to Michaels, Jo-Ann Fab­ric & Craft Stores, IKEA and Trader Joe’s for all my sup­plies! I pur­chased all my flow­ers from Trader Joe’s!
Black Halloween Lantern
I found this ele­gant black lantern from IKEA and in it, placed a few mini white pump­kins for a sim­ple table dec­o­ra­tion. Added the “BOO!” with a few bits of black Span­ish moss and a small black Crow as accents.



Elegant White Pumpkins
Pur­chased two fake white pump­kins from Michael’s and then embell­ished them with black rhine­stones on one to cre­ate a spi­der web and stick­ers on the other to cre­ate a frilly face.


White Halloween Flowers
It’s hard to make flow­ers look scary. Calla Lilies can evoke so many moods and this time, I hope you find it a bit spooky with my “Eek!” accent. Happy Halloween!

White Halloween Flowers

NOTE: If you carve a fake pump­kin, don’t put a real can­dle in it, use bat­tery oper­ated lights. Fake pump­kins are highly flammable.


Flower Duet on 3rd Sea­son of Cre­ative Liv­ing TV

Casey on Creative Living
Casey Schwartz of Flower Duet has appeared on Pub­lic Television’s Cre­ative Liv­ing with Sheryl Bor­den the past two sea­sons and returned to Por­tales, New Mex­ico to film another set of five shows for the 2012–2013 season.

Casey had the plea­sure of return­ing this time with our mom who flew into Albu­querque to meet her, where they drove to Por­tales and filmed the show the fol­low­ing day. After that it was onto Sante Fe for music, arts, wine, chili and meet­ing with our 99-year-old Great Aunt Teen, who is the last of my grandmother’s seven sib­lings still with us.

As we send out this newslet­ter, Casey is just get­ting back to Los Ange­les and we’ll soon be post­ing more free videos to our YouTube chan­nel from her appear­ance on the show.
Flower Duet on Creative LIving for 2013 season
Look for this year’s tech­niques which include: Tips and Tricks with Poman­ders, Mix­ing Trop­i­cal and Tra­di­tional flow­ers for Win­ter White Ele­gance and a Vic­to­rian Bou­quet com­plete with flower mean­ings for each flower we used in the mix.


Video: Flower IDEAs by Oasis

How many flow­ers does it take to fill an Oasis Sphere?

While Flower Duet is busy in our pro­duc­tion stu­dio with fall wed­dings and gear­ing up for the hol­i­days, we’d like to intro­duce you to the Oasis IDEA video chan­nel on YouTube. These free videos show you how to use their foam and flo­ral prod­ucts and this month, we are fea­tur­ing the handy video: How many flow­ers fit on an OASIS Sphere? This video shows you how many stan­dard car­na­tions to use in a foam sphere, but you can also use Chrysan­the­mums in spheres with great suc­cess. Keep in mind that the smaller the head of the flower, the more stems you’ll need. If you want to pur­chase Oasis foam spheres, you can get them online or at your local flo­ral sup­ply retailer.

Sub­scribe to our YouTube chan­nel: fash­ion­ingflow­ers so you’ll know when we’ve uploaded a new show of our own!

Book Review: Martha Stewart’s Hand­made Hol­i­day Crafts

Martha Stewart’s Hand­made Hol­i­day Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Cel­e­bra­tions
This book is really worth it for under $20 con­sid­er­ing the cost of just one Martha Stew­art Liv­ing mag­a­zine. Pub­lished just over a year ago,
this book is still cur­rent in its designs. It fea­tures 225 projects which cover all major hol­i­days: New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Hal­loween, Thanks­giv­ing, Hanukkah and Christmas.

Projects include cards and greet­ings, dec­o­ra­tions, gifts and gift wrap­ping, table­top accents, party favors, and kids’ crafts, as well as more holiday-specific activ­i­ties, such as egg-dyeing, pump­kin carv­ing, and tree trimming.


Flo­ral Design Tool: Look­ing Glass Paint — Make Your Own Mer­cury Glass

Looking Class PaintMer­cury glass vases and votives are all the rage right now, but what if you just can’t find the look you want? The answer is to make it your­self with Looking-Glass Paint.

Find a glass con­tainer that you like – it’s the per­fect size and design for your event. Then, pur­chase Krylon’s Look­ing Glass Mirror-Like Paint. It trans­forms clear glass into a highly reflec­tive sur­face. You spray the inside of the vase to get the look you want. It’ dries to the touch in 5 min­utes and is good to go in 24 hours. It can be used on votives, vases, table­tops, jars, planters and pic­ture frames.

Mercury Vases

Pic­tured above are some cool Mer­cury Glass vases we found in New York to give you an idea of the vari­ety of glass avail­able.
You can get cre­ative with it and make it look more trendy and dis­tressed by using water or vine­gar dur­ing the process.

Crate and Barrel

You could even paint the out­side of the glass a color and the inside with the Look­ing Glass Paint to get this type of look I found at Crate and Bar­rel pic­tured above. Use Design Mas­ter Paint for glass for the out­side color and go spar­ingly on the coating.

TIP: Be sure to test it out with water and your stemmed arrange­ment before you design inside the vase. You don’t want the sur­face to flake off. You may have to use a liner inside the vase after it’s been treated.

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